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Responsible Action Protocol

The University recognizes that even well-meaning students may make decisions that do not demonstrate responsibility as it pertains to living in community with others. The purpose of this protocol is to provide guidance and encouragement for students, even those in violation of community standards themselves, to act in ways that help and care for fellow students who may be in physical or emotional danger.

At some point in their college career, students may find themselves facing an ethical dilemma. Some combination of poor choices might result in a situation involving alcohol intoxication, drug overdose, sexual misconduct or physical assault, where a student ends up in serious need of medical treatment or professional assistance. 

In situations where students seek appropriate help, Saint Louis University considers such actions, first and foremost, as responsible health and safety interventions. The University has accepted the following Responsible Action Protocol, which it hopes will help alleviate students' concerns about seeking help for endangered students and therefore promote responsible action on the part of all students.

For the purposes of this protocol, the following definitions apply:
Endangered Student
Any student whose physical or mental safety is impaired and is in need of emergency medical assessment and possibly treatment or other professional support and assistance. The sources of impairment may be, but are not limited to, alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, sexual assault, or physical assault.
Assisting Student
Any student trying to assist an "Endangered Student" by seeking help.

In situations where students are seeking help for endangered students, the University will consider the positive impact of the assisting student's actions when determining any corresponding disciplinary actions. The University will strive to balance the assisting student's actions against the series of choices that led to the emergency. In most cases, the assisting student will not be charged with any community standard violations. In other cases, when the assisting student's actions prior to seeking help negatively contributed to the endangered student's situation, some educational requirements (i.e., drug/alcohol assessment, reflection paper, counseling, etc.), may be imposed.

Without question, when an assisting student acts responsibly to assist an endangered student, such actions will be viewed positively by the University when determining whether any conduct actions, including parental notification, are required. In cases where serious or egregious incidents have occurred (particularly those involving severe injury, assaults, and damage, etc.), assisting students may be held accountable with formal community standards action(s), but the University will consider an assisting students' efforts to summon aid as a mitigating factor when determining any sanctions.

Helping an endangered student does not provide the assisting student with blanket amnesty. Students who demonstrate consistent and repeated patterns of engaging in at-risk behaviors or who have contributed to an endangered student's condition may be subject to disciplinary action, medical review and/or treatment. Failure to complete requirements or sanctions may be treated as a conduct matter by the Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards. The RAP does not preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities. Students may be held accountable for misconduct and/or damages accompanying the use and/or abuse of alcohol or other substances.

Students who fail to take responsible actions in emergency situations void all protections under the RAP and may be held responsible for contributing aggravating factors in a Community Standards proceeding. Failure to act responsibly may lead to serious consequences when such failure to act results in a violation of University rules, regulations or policies.

Frequently Asked Questions about RAP

How does the Responsible Action Protocol (RAP) work?

In an emergency, particularly where an alcohol or drug overdose is suspected or where other medical attention may be warranted, responsible students are asked to take the following steps:

  • Call DPS at (314) 977-3000 and/or contact a Housing and Residence Life staff member immediately.
  • Stay with the individual needing assistance (unless it is unsafe to do so).
  • Cooperate fully with emergency officials at the scene and with University officials after the fact.
If students follow the RAP does that mean that no conduct action is taken?

In many cases, the answer is yes; however, assisting students may be required to meet with University official(s) and complete educational or developmental exercises.

In cases where more serious or egregious incidents have occurred (particularly those involving severe injury, assaults, damage, etc.), assisting students may still be subject to formal conduct action, but the University will consider the students' efforts to summon aid as a mitigating factor when assessing possible sanctions.

Does this protocol protect the endangered student from sanctions?

The RAP seeks to reduce an assisting student's concerns about calling for immediate emergency assistance by eliminating or lessening the University's conduct actions for students involved in the situation. In situations where help is sought, a student's decision to seek help will be considered favorably and will be considered in any decision to pursue possible conduct action.

What records are kept regarding incidents involving the Responsible Action Protocol?

The Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards (OSRCS) maintain student disciplinary records. In accordance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and University policy, in most circumstances, information from a student's disciplinary record may only be shared with others when the student has given consent to do so. If you act in accordance with the RAP and no conduct action is taken by the OSRCS, information about the incident in question will not be part of your student disciplinary record. If you are a witness and your name is in the incident report involving another student, your name will be redacted from that record prior to the record being shared unless the request is made via a subpoena.

Is there a limit to the number of times the Responsible Action Protocol can be used?

Students are always encouraged to look after and care for their friends and peers and are expected to take responsible actions at all times. The OSRCS will inquire further if it appears a student is abusing the RAP in order to avoid being held accountable for actions that are in violation of the Community Standards. In addition, a student who demonstrates consistent and repeated patterns of such behavior may require further assessment and/or intervention. Failure to complete such referrals will be treated as a conduct matter.

Will my parents find out?

Possibly, but not necessarily. The University reserves the right, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), to contact parents or guardians when students under the age of 21 have violated University policies regarding alcohol or drugs or where there is a health or safety emergency.

Does the Responsible Action Protocol protect students from the police or legal action?

No. The Responsible Action Protocol only applies to University conduct action; it does not prevent or preclude police or other legal actions.

Does the Responsible Action Protocol cover student clubs/organizations, fraternities, and sororities?

Yes, in certain situations. Student clubs/organizations, including fraternities and sororities (herein referred to as "student groups"), are held to a high standard, and following the RAP should not be construed as a way for a student group to avoid conduct actions altogether.

For more information, visit the 2019-2020 Student Handbook.